Evidence of meeting #35 for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was kahnawake.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

5:10 p.m.

Council Chief, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Chief Clinton Phillips

There's a lack of dollars. We're talking of a lot of money to have an assessment done. We're hoping that maybe Ottawa will kick in dollars, because as I said, the minister is a signatory of the lease, and I guess that would be part of the problem in terms of environmental accountability. We'll exhaust every avenue to get the testing done and to get things right that were done wrong to us and our lands. I'll stop at nothing.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you.

Chief, I have just a follow-up question.

Obviously, we're setting land use and economic development, and really the two mechanisms that communities have right now to undertake legislation or regulation with regards to land management are either through the Indian Act, which you're currently under, or else the provisions under the First Nations Land Management Act, which are also there

I read somewhere, Chief, that your community considered in 2005 the possibilities of what the First Nations Land Management Act might provide for your community. I know that you weren't chief at that point in time, but I'm curious if you have any insight as to maybe why the community felt they should reject that provision within law to get outside of the Indian Act. My understanding was that at that point there had been an alternative legislative framework that the Kahnawake community had proposed, something that would have been tailored to the community. I'm wondering if that was something that was written and there's something in place that we could actually review, or if that was more just a suggestion at that point in time.

5:15 p.m.

Council Chief, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Chief Clinton Phillips

I'll hand it off to my technician. She's been involved with the land unit for a lot longer than I have.

5:15 p.m.

Associate Director, Lands Unit, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Debbie Morris

I believe you're referring to the Canada-Kahnawake relationship.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Yes, I've forgotten the title, but I understand there was provision where the community suggested an alternative to those two options.

5:15 p.m.

Associate Director, Lands Unit, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Debbie Morris

I remember the presentation that was made to the chief and council at that time for the process. However, at that time there were concerns with the environmental requirements that were in there and the liabilities that would have fallen onto Kahnawake—and, of course, we didn't have the funding to be able to carry forth what needed to be done. So that played a big role in why it was not followed up.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

I appreciate that. Thank you.

Not seeing any additional intervenors, we'll suspend and just give an opportunity to our witnesses to leave.

But we do want to thank you first before we do let you go. We know that you are all very busy people and you've given your time to be here today. I certainly want to thank you on behalf of the entire committee. Thank you so much.

We'll suspend.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Colleagues, we'll call this meeting back to order.

I want to make colleagues aware of a couple of things. On Thursday we will only have one witness. There was an appetite, it seemed, for a subcommittee meeting. So we're going to try to organize one, if subcommittee members could let me know if it would be workable. We would take part of what would otherwise be allocated for the committee, and then maybe continue for a short time after that 5:30 mark on Thursday, for those who are on the subcommittee.

I'm getting a sense that might not be the best day. I understand people are racing back to their constituencies. Could subcommittee members let me know after this meeting what might work better? We don't need to get into a long dialogue. I'll just make sure we find a time that accommodates everyone's schedules.

In terms of other committee business, I'm not certain that anything else is pressing, other than.... No, I think everything can be handled at the subcommittee. We'll get together and find a time that's suitable for everybody.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

What about Ms. Crowder's motion?

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Yes. We'll turn to Ms. Crowder, if you want to do that.

May 15th, 2012 / 5:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

I'd just like to move a motion:That, the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development immediately commence a study on the subject matter of the sections of Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, which directly fall within the mandate of this committee, namely Part 3, Division 5, Fisheries Act; Part 4, Division 46, First Nations Land Management Act; Part 4, Division 49, First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act.

I think we're all well aware that these parts have been bundled into a complex piece of legislation. Over this last week, and certainly in our travels, I think we've heard that certain parts of the bill could have an impact on first nations communities. So we're asking that the committee consider studying the sections of the bill directly related to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

It's an important piece of legislation that requires oversight. I know that in the past various bills from various governments have been passed with unexpected consequences—and that's not a partisan remark. I know all committee members are hard-working and would be concerned if a bill had an unintended consequence. I'm sure we want to do our due diligence and make sure this bill doesn't have that effect.

I know that the Assembly of First Nations, for example, has issued a series of questions around the Fisheries Act. It's not clear to us what those changes are. We understand there are going to be regulatory changes, but the Assembly of First Nations has posed a number of questions that I think will be important for this committee to consider.

I think it makes sense for us to have a full study of these particular sections of the bill. Again, we know that mistakes have been made in legislation in the past; we've had to see legislation come back to the House to correct those mistakes. I think it's important that we take the time we need to study the bill and its impacts to make sure there are no unintended consequences.

I'd ask all committee members to support my motion.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Not seeing anybody on the speaking list, I'll move to a vote. All those in favour?

(Motion negatived)

I don't think there's any other committee business, so the meeting is adjourned.